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Biz Links: Verizon's $2 fee is latest online outrage.

From Business Today:

Verizon's plans to charge $2for anyone paying their bill over the phone or online is causing a rukus among customers. Some say that those who wait to the last minute to pay do so because they don't have the money until then. Verizon says it must pay third-party vendors to handle the phone charges.

The national job market seems to be brightening as the new year approaches.

Mortgatge rates are still amazingly low, but housing sales are slow. It seems a new paradigm toward renting rather than buying is developing.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?


Biz Links: Real estate moves.

From Business Today:


A local real estate executive is leaving one real estate firm for another. Senior executive Dennis Penman has been with MJ Peterson for 40 years. But as of Tuesday, he will join Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. as an executive vice president and a principal at the developer. Penman said he is eager to work in commercial real estate after working for so long in residential.



Late night revelers and downtown office-goers alike will soon have a new food option.

Mighty Taco is opening a shop on Chippewa Street. It will be located next to Bacchus Wine Bar and Restaurant. The newest Mighty Taco, which is expected to open in spring, will be the local chain's 20th. 



Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Mighty Taco commercials--you either love them or hate them:


Biz Links: Top 10 local business stories

From Business Today:


The sale of HSBC's upstate New York branches ranks number one in our list of the year's top business stories.

The Statler's survival and the collapse of the Steven J. Baum foreclosure firm followed in the second and third spots. Do you agree with our rankings?




Sears Holdings Corp. will try to revive the company by closing up to 120 Sears and Kmart stores around the country, the company announced Tuesday

Nothing has been revealed yet about which stores are on the chopping block, but retail expert and Buffalo native Burt Flickinger has some ideas about which ones here might go


HSBC Bank USA has been fined $10,000 for trying to seize a home without proper paperwork. A state Supreme Court justice fined the bank for "frivolous conduct" for using robosigning and making false statements. HSBC said it didn't handle the loan in question, but was only responsible for administering the mortgage investment trust that included the loan.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

How could Kmart be in trouble when it's got such great commercials?


Biz Links: Stock picks off the mark

From Business Today:


Our panel of financial advisers are hoping they can do a better job of picking stocks this year than last year. Looking ahead to 2011, a panel of local advisers predicted a better than 9 percent gain by the Dow Jones industrial average and a nearly 12 percent jump by the Nasdaq.

The Dow was up 6 percent in 2011 as of press time, and the Nasdaq was actually down one percent.

From MoneySmart:


If you're planning on returning any of the gifts you received this year, make sure you read this MoneySmart article first. Many stores are trying to curb returns, which they say are expensive to process, and are tightening up or changing return policies.



Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Hope you all had a great Christmas!



Biz Links: Temporary hiring is up

From Business Today:


Temp agencies have reported a rise in temporary jobs. The usual need for holiday retail help is included in those numbers, but so is something else. Many employers are looking to temporary workers to fill the gap left by employees who take vacation time around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Temp industry executives say that is a sign employers are feeling more comfortable hiring and that the economy is improving.



Kissing Bridge will open Monday at 9 a.m. It kicks off the 51st season at the Glenwood slopes. Two trails and two lifts will open. More will open as conditions permit. Holiday Valley opened earlier this month.


Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Santa Claus is coming to town!


Biz Links: Downtown gets $22 million

From Business Today:


The Town of Hamburg has chosen the company that will redevelop a 145-acre former Bethlehem Steel property. Krog Corp., which has offices in Buffalo, Corning and Jamestown, specializes in brownfield development.

It has been chosen to transform the sprawling Bethlehem Steel site into a commercial or industrial park. The vacant property, called Lake Erie Industrial Park, is owned by the town through Land Development Corp. But now Krog will have exclusive rights to develop it.



 Downtown Buffalo is getting an influx of $22 million. The funds are coming from city, state and federal sources, including $4 million from the Empire State Development Corp.'s recent $100 million award to the Western New York region.


Much of the money will be used as part of the Cars Sharing Main Street project which will bring two-way traffic back to Main Street downtown. Money will be used for streetscape improvements, new bike lanes, and restoring two-way traffic.


Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Here's hoping all your packages get to where they need to be. And that they're not delivered by this guy:


Biz Links: Local unemployment inches up

From Business Today:

JobfairUnemployment in the Buffalo Niagara region grew last month. The local unemployment rate rose to 7.3 percent from October's 7 percent. Still, it's the lowest November number since 2008. The jobless rate, which stood at 8 percent a year ago, has dropped in part because the region has 4,800 fewer unemployed workers than it did a year ago, according to the state labor department. At the same time, the size of the local labor force has shrunk, reflecting the region's decreasing population as well as a rising pool of workers who are either too discouraged to look for work or have dropped out of the work force while they learn new skills.



Verizon has been given a dubious distinction by a local community group.

The Don't Bypass Buffalo coalition has named Verizon "Scrooge of the Year" for not installing its fiber optic network in the city.

By installing its high-speed internet and TV service in the suburbs but not in the city of Buffalo, the group claims the company is discriminating against city residents.



A reform group is slamming a Rochester IDA for a move that has cost Western New York jobs. VWR Education/Ward’s Natural Sciences has received tax abatement to grow its Rochester company, but its growth is a result of closing facilities here and eliminating 41 jobs.

The Getting Our Money's Worth coalition is slamming the County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency  for giving tax breaks to the company that closed its warehouse in Tonawanda. It argues the company is not expanding, but is consolidating and downsizing, and therefore doesn't deserve incentives.



Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Speaking of Scrooge:

Biz Links: Shopping strong here

From Business Today:


Happy days are here again for local retailers. Stores in local malls and shopping districts have reported that holiday sales have bounced back from their 2008 recession doldrums.

In some cases, retailers are reporting their best years ever in sales. It echoes a national trend.


FordNew-car sales in the Buffalo Niagara region were up again last month, according to the Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association. New-car sales were up 4.3 percent in November compared to the same month in 2010. Not counting Chevy (which doesn't disclose results), 3,689 new cars were sold here. Still, it was the first time sales were below the 4,000 mark all year.


Independent Health and WNY Immediate Care have been butting heads over fees. The insurer had said it would consider the urgent health care facility a non-participating provider if they did not come to an agreement by the end of 2011. But because the letter notifying WNY Immediate Care of that contained a typo, the deadline has been stretched out for another year. The deadline was supposed to be Dec. 31, 2011. Instead, it read Dec. 31, 2012.

Bethlehem steel

The Bethlehem Steel site is one step closer to being revamped. National Grid gave $300,000 to the Erie Couny Industrial Development Agency Monday to help fund the $4.7 million project. The project calls for moving about two miles of railroad line along the front portion of the former Bethlehem Steel site, which would open hundreds of acres to redevelopment.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

The countdown to Christmas is officially on.


Biz Links: Property deals around the region

From Business Today:


Two buildings in Orchard Park have sold. One was bought by a local dentist looking to expand, the other was bought by two parties with the intention of being divided among them. Pediatric dentist Michael Foley bought 3364 Southwestern Boulevard for $465,000 to be used as a second branch of his dental practice. The former Bally's Matrix health club at 55 Weiss Avenue sold in three transactions to neighboring property owners who plan to knock it down and split a three-acre parcel of land.


Two local companies went above and beyond the state's energy conservation requirements in multifamily buildings and are being recognized for it. C.J. Brown Energy PC and Buffalo Energy received multiple awards from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.


An Amherst restaurant has sold its building to a car dealership, but will reopen in a larger space. Falafel Bar's owner and chef Oded Rauvenpoor sold the building at 3689 Sheridan Drive to Northtown Automotive Group for $248,000. The dealership will knock down the building to build a second entrance for its nearby Hyundai-Subaru dealership. Falafel Bar will move into the recently closed HucklebucketsFamily Grill & Sports Bar in the Northtown Plaza.


Check out recent real estate transactions in Erie and Niagara Counties for the week ending Nov. 11.  The highest-priced property in Erie County went for $1.025 million while the highest price tag in Niagara County was $650,000.


Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

From MoneySmart:


If you're of a certain age, you might be able to audit courses at a local college for free or at a very low cost. See Emma Sapong's story in today's MoneySmart section.


In the market for a pet? Shelters and rescues can be an inexpensive--and rewarding--way to find one.


Less than a week until Christmas!


Biz Links: Local labor market screeches to a halt

From Business Today:


The local labor market has screeched to a stop. The Buffalo Niagara region added no jobs this November over the same month a year ago. It's the first time in 12 months we didn't see a job increase, and the worst numbers we've had in 16 months. Despite a much celebrated increase in construction jobs, most other sectors were weak. The private sector added 600 jobs over the past year.


After giving a questionable grant given to the Clarence Chamber of Commerce, the Clarence Industrial Development Agency is reviewing its grant policies. The State Authorities Budget Office mentioned the Clarence IDA in an October report, raising doubts as to whether the $10,000 grant was in line with general municipal law.


A wind farm planned in Wyoming County just got state approval. The Stony Creek Energy wind farm project, set for the Town of Orangeville, was approved by the state Public Service Commission on Thursday. The town will be host to 59 wind turbines up to 430 feet tall. It will receive $667,000 annually for 20 years from a Chicago company called Invenergy. The town will receive a total of $3.3 million over 20 years and about six jobs will be created.


 A Sanborn manufacturer just took ownership of a product it already produces. Katz Americas acquired the name, images and design rights of Paperkraft Coasters, a line of pulpboard-based beverage coasters. The acquisition will add four employees to the company's 50.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

It's Friday, people!


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